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Green Day takes a Neve studio console on the road

Mixonline was there

“There’s never been one on the road before,” beamed Kevin Lemoine, the band’s house engineer for the last 21 years. “I live 45 minutes from Wimberley, Texas, where Rupert Neve Designs is based, so I’ve been going down there for years, trying to see if we can figure out some way to make an affordable, compact, analog console. Still kind of tweaking on it and there’s some stuff in the works, but as far as right now, this is the best new analog console to bring out [on the road]. It’s all transformer-based, so there’s transformers on the in and outs. They went in and zip-tied all the transformers to the chassis, put little blocks in with silicone to make sure nothing rattles around or has the ability to pop off a circuit board, so it has been modded by the guys there a little bit in anticipation of rough roads.”

This summer’s Hella Mega Tour came after a Hella Mega Long Wait. Bringing together a three-pronged rock attack of Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer, the massive world stadium tour was first announced back in September, 2019, with all three bands releasing singles, that teased new albums, that primed the tour…that didn’t happen. After months of rehearsals, rig building and the rest, Hella Mega found itself all dressed up with nowhere to go after COVID-19 brought the concert industry to a standstill in March, 2020, only a week before the first tour leg though Asia was due to begin. As the months wore on, leg after leg got postponed, and an Oceania run was simply cancelled, but with vaccinations on the rise and COVID briefly on the ropes as Summer 2021 began, it was time to get the show on the road.

Hella Mega finally kicked off July 24 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX and never looked back, spending the next six weeks careening around the U.S. before wrapping up in Seattle in early September. Across 29 shows, the tour played 35,000- 40,000 seat stadiums that were usually sold out with crowds ready to let off a little—OK, a lot of steam after 18 months of COVID-induced uncertainty. The tour was up to the challenge, however, with the bands rolling through hit-heavy setlists while the audio team ensured that audiences left every show thoroughly rocked.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said crew chief and system engineer Clark Thomas, speaking under the FOH tent on a broiling August afternoon at HersheyPark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “We had to re-prep all this gear that’s been sitting around forever and blow the dust off it, so to speak.” The tour carried a d&b audiotechnik GSL line array system provided by Eighth Day Sound (which also provided gear for Green Day, while Clair Global handled Fall Out Boy). As it turned out, pro audio gear isn’t designed to spend two years offline, but getting it back in fighting shape wasn’t that difficult either. “The routine pretty much stays the same,” said Thomas. “You go through, check all your cabling, drivers, cabinets and make sure everything’s happy and talking the way it should. Maybe you find some cabling that mysteriously went bad getting oxidation. Here and there, the little audio Gremlins came in and definitely had their way, but it’s gone well since we’ve been out here.”


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